A miracle run in the straight has seen the former stayer Linton come from near last on the turn to claim victory in the $1,300,000 Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Now trained by John Sadler, Linton had previously won over 2400m and placed in the Group 1 The BMW over that distance and was a good second in the Australian Cup over 10 furlongs but since switching to shorter trips he has found a new lease on life.
Ridden by Nick Hall, Linton sat third last in the run after jumping from barrier 21 and settled some dozen lengths off race leader Buffering (Browne).
Little changed in the run until the home turn when Hall had to make a decision about which way to go; stick to the rails or switch to the outside.
Fortunately for Hall a run to the outside didn’t eventuate when he was looking so he was forced to take the rails and it was a race winning move.
Stride by stride Linton passed his rivals with an uninterrupted run, and while the connections of Buffering were no doubt hoping he had finally got his group 1, Linton and Hall would have none of it, claiming the lead inside the 50m before going on to win.
The margin was three quarters to Buffering with a further long head to Streama (Boss) in third. The overall time was 1.22.6 with the last 600m run in 35.35.
“It’s fantastic,” Hall said. “It’s been a while since I have had a group 1 victory and it is good to be back.
“He is going as good as he has ever gone, clearly, and John has found the right distance range for him and he is going really well.”
“It’s a special moment,” Malua Racing’s Troy Corstens said. “He is such a wonderful horse.
“He is the kind of horse the public love, everyone always asks me how Linton is going, so it is really really nice to see him get a group 1 today.
“John Sadler is an absolute marvel. I wanted to set this guy for an Australian Cup and he said ‘I really want to win a Stradbroke with him, I don’t think he can stay’.
“I really questioned him but all credit goes to John because he picked this race out 12 months ago and it has come off today.”
Linton is by Galileo (IRE) out of the Centaine mare Our Heather (NZ) and is owned by Estrela Energia (Mgr: S Friborg), M B Talty, P G Talty & M P Talty. The win was Linton’s seventh and it doubled his prizemoney to $2,070,100.
Linton and Nick Hall, picture Sportpix.com.au